Cayuga County Health Department


Hydrilla in Cayuga Lake

Hydrilla, an extremely aggressive aquatic plant, has been found to be wide spread in Cayuga Lake adjacent to Wells College in the Village of Aurora.  The infestation currently is located from the Wells College dock to just north of Little Creek, and likely covers an area greater than 27 acres.  Hydrilla was found in water depths down to approximately 18 ft.  In addition, hydrilla was also found upsteam in Paines Creek.   (The report discussing the delineation of hydrilla in this area can be found here .)  If left unchecked, hydrilla will spread rapidly, forming into thick mats of vegetation, making swimming and boating impossible and affecting fish populations.  The impact to the local economy can be significant. 

National and local experts on Hydrilla agree that the use of herbicides is the best method to achieve eradication of Hydrilla.  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Buffalo District will be overseeing a project this summer towards the eradication of hydrilla in this portion of Cayuga Lake.  Fluridone will be applied in a slow release pellet form (trade name Sonar H4C) to treat the Hydrilla in the lake near Aurora and in Paines Creek and Little Creek, both of which are located south of Wells College.

Komeen, a copper-based pelletized herbicide used to control underwater plants, will be used to spot treat small areas of Hydrilla that may be found in the lake outside of the main treatment area, and Nautique, a liquid copper-based herbicide, will also be applied in Paines Creek and Little Creek.

These products will be applied by a New York State licensed professional applicator to the treatment area. Information regarding fluridone can be found here.  Information regarding Komeen and Nautique can be found here.

There would be no restrictions on drinking, fishing, swimming, boating, or domestic use of fluridone treated water at the concentrations to be applied as part of this project. There may be some restrictions on watering certain plants. More information on irrigation can be found here soon.

The Cayuga County Health Department will conduct water quality monitoring of the public drinking water and the public bathing beach during this time period. Sampling results can be found here.

What does Hydrilla look like?


Report suspected hydrilla here

Quick Facts

  • Hydrilla is one of the world’s most invasive plants.
  • Can grow up to a foot a day.
  • Forms thick dense mats that block sunlight and kill native plants.
  • Reduces oxygen in the water and alters fish habitat.
  • Eliminates waterfowl feeding areas and fish spawning sites.
  • Obstructs boating, swimming, and fishing.
  • Lowers the value of waterfront property.
  • Blocks intakes at water treatment, power generation, and industrial facilities.
  • Clogs flood control channels.